Good Thursday, Everyone!

Guess what? I love to read. No surprise there, right? Well, this tag is designed to delve deeper into my reading habits/preferences/routines. I think it’s high-time I tackled this tag, since I said I would more than three months ago. Yikes. Don’t be mad at me. Sorry for the delay. But here we are! Finally!

I’m sure you’re dying to dig in. Let’s not keep you waiting then. Here we go!

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Q1. How many books is too many books in a series?

A: If you’re going to ask this to a bibliophile, you’ll get only one answer: Frankly, I don’t think there can been enough books. Period. The most I’ve read is Harry Potter which has seven total in the entire series. The next was the Gone series by Michael Grant, which had six. (And technically, in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, there are a total of five only, so far).

Q2. Character driven or plot driven books?

A: There should be both, to be honest. Don’t compromise on plot by making overly complex characters, and don’t jeopardize a character by concocting convoluted, complicating plotpoints. On balance, character development needs to be given priority. That’s where the whole story hinges. The entire book is more often than not judged on where the character starts out and where he/she reaches by the end of the book. The best character driven book I’ve read is The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

Q3. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

A: Can’t get enough of them. The more the better, but maybe not over do it? And at the conclusion of a series or end of a stand-alone, cliffhangers are stupid. There must be closure. An open-ending is fine though. Lee Child, David Baldacci and Robert Pattinson are some of the best cliffhanger masters.

Q4. Hardcover or Paperback?

A: Hardbacks are too unwieldy and less bendy. Not that I bend the spines of my Paperbacks. They’re too precious; I never fold the covers against each other, but they’re more lightweight and easier to handle. Reading is a leisurely relaxed hobby, not a chore.

Q5. Favourite book?

A: I think I’ve answered this question in the Get To Know Me Tag post. It’s The Catcher In The Rye by Jerome David Salinger. Coming of age. Teenage angst. I’m all for it. That’s my go-to, all time favourite genre and subject matter. Nothing beats it. It’s the most important rite of passage every adult goes through. It’s what I relate to the most and often find myself writing about too.

Q6. Love triangles, yay or nay?

A: Mostly nay, unless it’s done well. Like in the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, or the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. And not like in the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. That was unnecessary and forced. There was just a touch of a love-triangle in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, and that was the perfect amount of conflict without overdoing it.

Q7. Book I am currently reading?

A: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson. Currently on page 50. It’s pretty darn good, I must say. Some of the best life lessons you will ever find.

Q8. Fiction or Non-Fiction?

A: I like a balance of both, but I gravitate towards fiction since reality isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be and we’re stuck with it. Fiction is the much-needed escape for the heart, mind, and soul. And when I write, I almost exclusively write fiction too. Also, Rick Yancey, John Grisham, Stephen King, Arthur Hailey? Come on!

Q9. The oldest book you’ve read?

A: Does the Holy Quran count? I think it does.

Q10. Your favourite classic book?

A: Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo (English translation from French by Isabel F. Hapgood). My heart goes out to the ostracized Quasimodo and the doomed Esmeralda. The ultimate story about love, longing, and loss. A thousand pages of pure pure pain. It’s excruciatingly wonderful. You can take my word on that.

Q11. Your favourite genre you generally go for?

A: I do anything from drama to science-fiction to crime to humour to fantasy to suspense. And within the YA realm too, because like I said, coming of age stories are my jam. Tests of courage, growth, love, selflessness, self-control, maturity. What more could you need? Lauren Oliver, Marie Lu, John Green, Ally Condie, Beth Revis and Simone Elkeles really know how to do it.

Q12. Favourite author?

A: So this has been my evolution over the years: R. L. Stine, then Agatha Christie, then Philip Pullman, then Sidney Sheldon, then Jeffrey Archer, then Dan Brown, then Paulo Coelho. Now, finally, after years of hopping, I have settled on David Levithan, the YA author. His language is so heart-warming and silken and smooth. It’s borderline orgasmic. My favourite book from him is Every Day.

Q13. How many books do you own?

A: Around 350+ and growing.

Q14. Bookmarks or dogears?

A: Bookmarks, since I can’t bear to mutilate the pages in any way. And often I don’t even need bookmarks. My memory is relatively intact and strong. I can just pick up where I know I’ve left off even after days.

Q15. A book you can always re-read?

A: Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. The entire book is so enigmatic and cinematic and magical and empyreal. Each sentence, each line is written with such cadence, gliding like butter, tickling like feathers. It’s a pleasure to read.

Q16. First person or third person preference?

A: Either does it for me, but since I like to write in first person and most YA titles are written in first person, I tend to go for those kind of books.

Q17. In what position do you read?

A: Always lying down on my back on the bed or sofa with a pillow behind my head. Like a semi-recline. I can’t read while standing or sitting upright. Flat on my stomach also works. TMI?

Q18. Can you read with music?

A: Nope. I want no distractions. Nothing to augment the reading experience either. Who wants background music? I sure don’t.

Q19. Audio or text?

A: Text. I’ve never understood audiobooks. I feel like it’s for the lazy and the dumb. No offence to anybody. But you need to show some effort, put in the hard work and invest time in reading. Don’t make the excuse of not having enough time. That’s really lame.

Q20. Bookshop or online?

A: Again, either works, as long as I get the book I want in my hands and I can own it (no renting). The method of purchase really isn’t that special for me.

Q21. Standalone or series?

A: Jeez. Again, either will do. I don’t avoid picking up a book if I find out it’s the first in a long line. Once I read the first, I always always always stick through to the end. I never give up. And more often than not it’s worth it.

Q22. The book you will recommend to everybody?

A: The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. Read it. Breathe it. Live it. You will win.

Q23. A book you will not read again?

A: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. It was okay the first time, but really tested my patience with the invented volcabulary. Every second word was gibberish; the glossary barely helped. I doubt I’ll ever be going back to it.

Q24. Main character male or female?

A: For some reason, totally subsonciosuly, I pick up books that end up having a female protagonist. A majority of the books I own have a female lead, and just a female lead. I think that is only a reflection of the status quo of current-day literature, female voices outnumbering male ones. Like YA and Sidney Sheldon titles. Whenever I do end up picking up a book that turns out to have a male lead, I savour it. The rarity that it is.

Q25. One POV or multiple POVs?

A: I’m a sucker for multiple POVs. Like George R.R.Martin’s A Song Of Fire and Ice series. Or most Sidney Sheldon books. Or Michael Grant’s Gone series. I really dig the idea of having different vantage points within a single story. Like different puzzle pieces that come together in perfect harmony to form one big clear picture. It’s downright genius.

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Don’t you just love books? The papery feel, the smooth/glossy/embossed/roughness of the covers, the intoxicating smell of the pages. Whole new exciting worlds built out of ink, packed within just a few pages waiting to be explored. Books are everything. Without them we’d be a backward, unworldly, uneducated society. They’re indispensable. Completely significant. Utterly irreplaceable.

Tell me how much you love books. Answer these questions with me in the comments! I await your replies! Like always, the more the merrier!

Until next time, you guys. Have a great week ahead!

This is me, signing out!

ยฉ Amaan Khan, June 7, 2018.